Interviewing Tips for Healthcare Professionals

In Career Advice
October 20, 2016

Interviewing Tips for Healthcare Professionals

The job market today can be rough, so stay on top of your game with these interviewing tips for healthcare professionals before meeting with the next recruiter.

If you’re looking for a job, you need all the help you can get when it comes to the hiring process. Interviewing is a lot like, and more painful than, dating. Its a time where you awkwardly sit in front of someone judging you as you struggle to say something interesting enough to make them like you and want to hear more.

This is especially true in the healthcare industry as its a multifaceted field with a broad spectrum of opportunities. You not only need to be qualified technically and by education, but you must also possess adequate interpersonal skills as you will work with people everyday. When it comes down to it, your credentials aren’t the only thing that dictates if you are offered the position.

As more baby-boomers are transitioning into retirement, more hospital jobs are becoming available by the day. The healthcare industry is one that is seeing, and will continue to see, explosive growth in the coming years.

Interviewing Tips for Healthcare Professionals:

1. Dress for the Job

When interviewing candidates, 75 percent of hiring managers report inappropriate clothing as the major reason for not hiring somebody. Some report potential applicants have shown up for their professional interview wearing shorts and flip-flops. But that’s not to say coming to the interview in a suit is necessary either.

For hospital jobs, top hiring managers say they don’t mind if you come dress in your scrubs, as long as you look professional and don’t come wearing a tank-top or T-shirt with your scrub bottoms. Remember, its not bad to dress how you will be seen at the job, but keep it professional and well-groomed.

Its better to be overdressed than underdressed

  • The old cliché is to dress for the job you want, not the one you have, but that’s not necessarily the case in the medical industry. It’s good to be stylish and stick with the trends, but you have other options.
  • Now, you don’t want to wear your grandfather’s old corduroy suit to an interview, but, with healthcare jobs, it is okay to wear your scrubs and other medical professional clothing, as that’s what you will wear on the job. So in this case, it is okay to dress for the job you have.

Leave the bling at home

  • Flashy jewelry is not appropriate at a professional interview. The best statement when it comes to jewelry is understatement.
  • Keep it subtle and minimal; that’s trending now anyway. Plus, you can’t wear jewelry with most medical professions anyway– a watch is about the only accessory you will need or will be allowed anyway.

No Deep Vs or Tanks

  • Better to leave the deep V-neck shirts and tank tops at home since it’d be best not to give the interviewer the wrong idea.
  • If you do wear your scrubs, make sure to wear the full ensemble, not just the bottoms. It is far better to opt on the side of modesty than not. Classic is always in and, for hospital jobs especially, it’s best to look professional at all times as you’ll be in the public eye.

2. Stay on Top of Your Paperwork

In an industry with tons of credentialing, continuing education hours, and licenses, it can be easy to lose documents and forget to keep all the credentials you accumulate over time. Working in an industry for 20-30 years that makes you update these and re-certify can really stack up paperwork, but it’s important you keep up with all of it.

Many HR managers say that they can’t give qualified people jobs since they can’t prove their qualifications as they’ve lost their certification documents somewhere along the way. Be sure to keep a record of every continuing education credit and license you receive from graduation and beyond.

3. Clean Up Your Social Profiles

Here’s the reality of the world we live in: potential employers will Google you to see what sort of material you’ve posted on social media. If you’ve posted about patient information or embarrassing happenings at former positions, employers will be hesitant to hire you, and there could be other, more serious, consequences.

Its important you have the integrity a healthcare professional should. Employers want to see what you are like out of the workplace as much as they want to see how you act while on the job.

As many as 70% of hiring managers report rejecting applications because of past postings to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Here are the major social media no-no’s that can come back to haunt you when you’re job hunting:

  • Posting questionable or explicit photos
  • Sharing intimate, too-personal information about yourself, your family, or your patients
  • Talking negatively about employers/former employers
  • Using profanity or expletives
  • Posting using poor grammar and spelling.

You don’t want the topic of conversation to be about questionable social media usage when you have your interview.

4. Do Your Homework

Too many candidates go into the interview woefully unprepared. Of the hiring managers interviewed, 62 percent reported that people they had interviewed had obviously done little to no research on the company or its mission before interviewing.

The same percentage of managers reported interviewing candidates who were not ready to answer the most basic questions about the company.

A few suggestions before heading to the interview:

Research the company on the Internet

  • Look for information about the position in which you are applying and the person who will be interviewing you. You need to meet the need and sell yourself on the skills you’ve acquired.

Google the Industry

  • Find recent articles about the healthcare industry in general and the company to which you’re applying specifically. Relate to your employer with their interests and the organizations overall goals. Show them how you share that interest.

Utilize LinkedIn

  • Connected with someone who works at the organization in which you’re interviewing. Speak with them directly about what it’s like there to get a feel for the culture and environment of the company.

5. Don’t Make It All About You

This is one of the most downplayed interviewing tips, but arguably one of the most important. Many job candidates forget that they are applying for a job based on what the employer needs, no their own. Candidates that talk about what they want, what they need, and that have lots of baggage typically are not offered the position.

When in the interview, only talk about the job and what you can bring to it. What is the value that you can bring to the job? Don’t talk about what you expect to gain unless asked.

Here are a few things to avoid talking about:

Talking about shifts you need

  • Your schedule is dramatically less important than thiers. You need to fill whatever shift is best for the employer as they are the ones trying to meet a need. When you talk about what schedule is best for you or a schedule that you will only work, it makes you seem less flexible and demanding.

Why you want to work only in a specific area

  • Again, it’s not about what you want or need. You will get to your goals if you move through the channels properly and with time. You alienate yourself from areas where you could benefit your potential employer when you only talk about specific areas you are interested in. It makes it seem that you would be unhappy and unstable if they put you in a spot they knew outright you didn’t want.

Why you will only work for a specific organization

  • Don’t limit yourself. If you would like to work with a specific organization, don’t let a potential employer know. Just put in the time it takes to be able to land a job there or work with those people.
  • Remain open and flexible so you can fill the need of the organization you are interviewing with.

6. Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Of all the interviewing tips, this is the most important: remember to be personable. Hiring managers constantly test you to see how well you interact with people and gauge what your bedside manner will be like. If they feel you aren’t friendly and are impersonal, they won’t hire you because, first and foremost, you must be good to people.

They will constantly be testing you to see if you can communicate and have the verbal skills to speak articulately and well. You can’t stumble around phrases and sound uneducated in the medical field; people won’t trust the quality of your care.

Make sure you show your potential employer that you are motivated, love helping people, and respond to their questions appropriately. In all, just be friendly and be yourself. Chances are, if you’re trying to land a job in the healthcare industry, you are already fairly friendly and like helping others.

Advance your career. Change your life.

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